Contact (musical)

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Contact musical Playbill cover, Opening Night.jpg
Opening Night Playbill cover
Music various
Lyrics various
Book John Weidman

1999 Off Broadway
2000 Broadway
2002 West End
2003 U.S. tour

2006 Point Park University

2006 Virginia Stage Company

2008 North Shore Music Theatre

2009 Asolo Repertory Theatre

2009 Budapest, Hungary

2010 Seoul, Korea

2010 Lodz, Poland

2012 / 2013 / 2014 American Dance Machine For The 21st Century
Awards Tony Award for Best Musical

Contact is a musical "dance play" that was developed by Susan Stroman and John Weidman, with its "book" by Weidman and both choreography and direction by Stroman. It ran both off-Broadway and on Broadway in 1999–2002. It consists of three separate one-act dance plays.


Contact premiered at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center, in September 1999 (after 1999 workshop productions of parts of the show), then moved to Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lincoln Center, on March 30, 2000 and played for 1,010 performances.

The show was received with critical acclaim[1] and won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Musical (among others - see below). The award was controversial because Contact contains no original music or live singing, and in response, a new award for Best Special Theatrical Event was introduced the following year.[2]

The original cast album was released on March 6, 2001. PBS included the show's final performance in its program Live from Lincoln Center on September 1, 2002.[3] A West End production opened at the Queen's Theatre in October 2002, and closed on May 10, 2003.[4] The show went on to tour nationally.[citation needed]


The idea that "Contact" was initially developed, researched, and written by Mike Ockrent's (Stroman's husband) development executive and assistants during his brief production deal at Warner Bros, is more than likely untrue. Stroman was inspired by a night she and Ockrent spent in a downtown swing club where a woman in a yellow dress chose dance partners at will.[citation needed]

Structure, music and story[edit]

Contact is made up of three separate dance pieces, each set to pre-recorded music from the likes of Tchaikovsky, Stephane Grappelli, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Royal Crown Revue, and The Beach Boys. In each story, the central character expresses a longing to make a romantic connection.:[5]

  • Part One - "Swinging"
Part One, set in an 18th-century French forest clearing, can be described as a contact improvisation on Fragonard's The Swing, a print of which is displayed on an easel when the audience arrives. Sex and concealed identity are involved in this piece of amoral intrigue - a servant and his master each seeks the young lady's affection. Much of the action takes place on a moving swing.
  • Part Two - Did You Move?
Part Two, set in 1950s New York, takes place in an Italian restaurant, focusing on the empty marriage of a small-time gangster and his wife. The wife has extensive dance sequences as she fantasizes about escaping her verbally abusive spouse, but each time is returned rudely to reality. Set to recorded orchestral music of Tchaikovsky and Grieg.
  • Part Three - "Contact"
Part Three, a contemporary piece, explores the emptiness of the career-driven lives of Manhattan apartment dwellers. A lonely advertising executive on the brink of suicide is somehow transported to a bar, where he encounters a stunning woman in a yellow dress. To win her and take control of his life, he must gain the confidence to make contact with another human being. [1]. It helped to create a surge of interest in acrobatic and rock and roll swing dancing.

Awards and nominations[edit]

In addition to winning Best Musical and Best Choreography, Karen Ziemba (in Part Two) and Boyd Gaines (in Part Three), won Tonys for Best Featured Actress and Best Featured Actor in a Musical, respectively. The show also won Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding New Musical, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Lighting Design.

Deborah Yates, who originated the spectacular dance role of Girl in a Yellow Dress (Part Three), was also nominated for a Tony Award that year in the same category as Karen Ziemba.


Musical numbers[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ See, for example: Curtain Up review
  2. ^ Hofler, Robert. "Legit lightning strikes twice"., May 1, 2006, accessed April 27, 2011
  3. ^ Simonson, Robert. "Sept. 1 Contact Broadcast to Be "Live from Lincoln Center"., July 29, 2002, accessed April 12, 2014
  4. ^ Gans, Andrew. London to Make Contact Oct. 23 at Queens Theatre., October 23, 2002, accessed April 12, 2014.
  5. ^ Contact Synopsis Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  6. ^ Contact listing Retrieved January 8, 2009.

External links[edit]